Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationNorthwestern U.
Grant numberGr. 9608
Approve DateApril 13, 2018
Project TitleKyweluk, Moira A., Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'Beyond Quantifying Fertility: Class, Race, Identity, and the 'Egg Timer Test',' supervised by Dr. Thomas McDade
MOIRA A. KYWELUK, then a graduate student at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, received funding in April 2018 to aid research on ‘Beyond Quantifying Fertility: Class, Race, Identity, and the ‘Egg Timer Test’,’ supervised by Dr. Thomas McDade. Frequently branded the ‘Egg Timer’ or ‘Biological Clock Test,’ anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) screening for women is becoming widely available at low cost in the United States. Blood levels of AMH reflect a woman’s remaining ovarian reserve or egg supply; values may indicate increased fertility and have relevance for the use of medical technologies like in vitro fertilization and oocyte cryopreservation (i.e. egg ‘freezing’). This project explored the cultural, social, and personal dimensions involved in a woman’s experience of undergoing AMH testing, focusing specifically on the narratives of women of color, poor, queer, and otherwise marginalized women who are accessing this new, low-cost fertility screening. Support from Wenner Gren funded nine months of fieldwork at two clinical sites where AMH testing is routinely administered and at relevant professional society meetings for infertility experts. Close participant observation and semi-structured interviews with patients and physicians documented the role of fertility testing in women’s life narratives, and indicated it is both a numerical index of biological motherhood and a medical tool that forces users to reconsider their futures. Ultimately, this project demonstrated measuring AMH level not only has clinical applications, but significant impact on women’s lives outside of their reproductive healthcare.